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Open Source Public Resources

Prototyping Smart Textiles – A Reader

In support of our newly developed class, we found ourselves writing a reader to explain different techniques, material sourcing and structures of textiles that could be leveraged for so-called “smart” applications (but if you read our intro, you see we get into a bit more complexity on that). This has been authored by Laura Devendorf, Sasha De Koninck and Steven Frost but it is available via Github so you can contribute as well if you so wish. You can find the complete book at the link below:

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Open Source Public Resources

Soft Object Open Curriculum

We developed a course and curriculum for teaching textile structures to an audience of students interested in engineering and physical prototyping. We have released this course, as well as our materials lists, kits, and assignments, as an open education resource here: https://unstable.design/soft-object/_book/

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AdaCAD Open Source Public Resources

AdaCAD

AdaCAD is a drafting software that we are developing in the lab. Our hope is for the tool to support both experimental forms of weaving and experimental forms of draft making that borrow from principles of generative design. You can view our intro to Version 2 of the software below.

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AdaCAD Open Source Provocations Public Resources

AdaCAD – The Beginnings

Photo of the AdaCAD user interface

In 2017, the Unstable Design Lab received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop AdaCAD, a software tool that would facilitate weavers who needed to integrate circuitry into their design.

This post includes a transcript of our first presentation about AdaCAD, delivered at CHI 2019. In this presentation, we talk about the rationale, process, and features of AdaCAD. Long story short, we presented how we learned that providing specific support for multilayer weaving and viewing your weave in terms of the draft as well as the paths of the individual yarn types within the design could go far to support weavers, and non-weavers, entering this emerging design space.

Since giving the talk in 2018, we have contributed development and you can view our current documentation and use the tool here: https://unstabledesign.github.io/

Links:

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Open Source

Overshot Weave Generator

I was in love with the fabric below and wanted to weave a similar pattern for myself. I didn’t have the tie up, but I did have the photo of the fabric, so I reverse engineered it. I found it really difficult to design the overall patterning of the stripes and tie ups at the same time so I wrote a processing script to allow me to more playfully make patterns with my keyboard, and have those generate my tie up. I released the code on GitHub so others could do the same.

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Documentation Open Source

How to Weave a Sensing and Color Changing Fabric

Pressing this fabric in one of the regions marked by the rectangles leads to the segment to change colors: from dark blue, to pink, to white. The parts on the left show how we combined our threads to electrical leads for testing using notched acrylic, copper tape, and alligator clips.

This is a first prototype of a vision of a force-fabric. When integrated into a garment, this textile could capture and replay how your body made contact with other bodies in the world. Those bodies may be human, created through the experiences of hugs or holding children, but they may also be of nonhuman forces – heavy winds or couches pressed upon ones back. The concept is to think of ways technology can make us aware of how we are physically supporting and supported by other objects and environmental forces. It sees garments as a interesting surfaces of intersection between self and other.

We created this first textile by double weaving sections of color changing yarn (resistive heating wire painted with a mixture of thermochromic pigments that change at different temperatures) on the front face and then integrating conductive pads on the back or under layer of the fabric. We used a tapestry technique to integrate a second piece of conductive yarn along a segment of the warp above the touchpad such that when it is pressed it completes the circuit. The double weaving structure makes the connective “guts” invisible from the front. Thus, the textile does not invite you to touch and poke it (how would you know where to touch), it simply captures a “picture” of the different press regions.

Laura Devendorf wove the fabric on an Schacht 8-shaft Baby Wolf loom, warped at 20 ends per inch (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)
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Open Source Provocations

String Figuring

The string figure sensor is a concept or early prototype for a string-based sensor that can know something of its own shape. We created a proof of concept by knitting conductive thread and wool around a wire core, resulting in a semi-rigid loop that feels similar to a pipe cleaner in one’s hands. When someone plays with the loop, the crosses and knots created in it result in measurable changes in resistance. We take resistance measurements at five points along the length of the loop to create a resistance “signature” that correlates to various shapes or figures created with the string.

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